Hi mamas! Heads up: this is a long post. Feel free to skim to the headings that interest you. There are literally thousands of baby gear essentials lists. Let me be the first to say, get what you want. Do what you want. Read all the lists, and then ignore them and get the stuff that makes sense for you, because there is no one-size-fits-all guide to parenting.
I read heaps of books while expecting, and realized based on my personality that I’d be most likely to be an “attachment parenting” kind of gal. Some people think attachment parenting means spoiling your child and not having a life of your own, but for me it’s more like listening carefully to my baby and learning together what is most comfortable for both of us.
You can get all kinds of shit for your kid. I ended up with four white noise machines, a wipes warmer, and a bunch of other stuff that I felt was superfluous, but didn’t really know until Tanner got here (go here to read his birth story if you like). Anyway, this is just the list of what I like best, what we are using most, and what may be helpful for you during the first few months of baby’s life. I will candidly tell you which stuff was given to me (sponsored) and what stuff I paid for, though bear in mind that all the sponsored gear was stuff I shopped around for, knew what I wanted, and requested the companies to share so that I could review it.
Newborn Baby Gear Essentials
I love having Tanner near me as much as possible – and he loves it too! Babies are used to being in the womb, so being close to mom (or dad) is super comforting for them, and having hands free means I can get stuff done. I have a few different types of baby wearing accessories which I use in different situations.
Tula Baby Carrier
We invested in a Tula baby carrier with infant insert. It was definitely not cheap, we spent close to $200 for the set, but it will carry Tanner through the first two years of his life, and it’s really good quality. This carrier is good for doing chores or errands, going for longer walks or taking the baby shopping with you. It’s supportive and lets Tanner see out so he can be involved in the world around him.
Lalabu Baby Soothe Shirt
The fine folks at Lalabu were sweet enough to send me their soothe shirt, which is an awesome nursing tank meets baby wrap design. It is mostly for newborns, as it’s only intended for babies up to 15 lbs. The cool thing about the shirt is you can wear it when you go out, and easily transition baby from car seat to your chest without fussing with complicated wraps, slings, or carriers. They even make a dad version!
Wild Bird Sling
I decided to buy a sling in addition to the Tula carrier, because I wanted to have something a little dressier for when we go to parties. Tanner is pretty comfortable in this sling, but it takes a little time to get the hang of sizing it for baby. It’s made of linen, which can be a bit stiff at first, so plan on breaking it in. I have read that it’s possible to breastfeed baby while they are in the sling… but Tanner and I haven’t figured that one out yet.
Ok, I actually don’t have this – but I want it. Tanner likes his carrier, but I feel like he would love it if he could see forwards, and he’s too small to face forwards in the Tula carrier. I read all the reviews and this one seems like it’s awesome. But I don’t have it. It’s $160 and I can’t justify spending another wad of cash on a second (ahem, fourth) baby carrier.
Babies sleep a lot. Like, a lot a lot. When first born, most babies sleep anywhere from 16-20 hours a day, so you want them (and you) to be comfortable. We live in a small one bedroom apartment, and a crib was not an option for us due to lack of space, but even if we lived in a larger place, we would definitely have Tanner sleep in the same room with us. It makes breastfeeding in the night way easier, and also lets us sleep better as nervous new parents, because he’s within arms reach and we can hear him breathing (and hear all his funny little barnyard animal sounds that he makes during the night). We have two faves for sleeping gear: the DockATot and the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. Both were generously sponsored after I did heaps of research and requested them from the manufacturers. Here’s why they are great:
Your baby will sleep like a champ in this thing – literally EVERY one of my mom friends has it and is obsessed. I think it’s because it’s small enough to cocoon/cuddle baby, so they feel snug as a bug in it. The deluxe version is designed for smaller babies (I think it’s supposed to be up to 8 months but Tanner will likely outgrow it sooner), and it comes with a removeable washable cover so it’s easy to clean. You can put it on the bed between parents, or put it on the floor or on the couch (safely of course) when you’re in another room. It’s also awesome for travel – we have taken it with us on overnights so baby T has a comfy place to sleep. I can’t recommend this product enough – it’s just the best. Our was sponsored (free) because I wrote the longest love letter ever to the DockATot people, as this was my number one want for baby sleeping.
Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper Bassinet
This is a fabulous option for parents who want baby in the same room, right nearby, but not in the same bed. Co-sleeping (bedsharing) can be a bit nerve racking for parents who (like me) are wild sleepers, so I wanted to be sure my baby had his own space to sleep so I didn’t smush him. The mini co sleeper is pretty small, and can be used as a free standing bassinet or you can roll one side of it down and have it flush with your king or queen bed, so it’s like an extension of your mattress. In the middle of the night, I can literally just grab Tanner and feed him, then set him back in the Arm’s Reach without him waking up. #Winning. This was also sponsored after I wrote to Arm’s Reach and explained that this was the perfect option for Tanner – and I can’t say enough good things about it! If they hadn’t sent it, I would have paid full price, no question.
If you’re not breastfeeding, then skip this one. If you are – even if you’re a stay at home mom – a breast pump is essential for your sanity and comfort. For most women, breastfeeding will involve some challenges at first, ranging from low supply to oversupply, engorgement, or letdown issues. The pump is your friend, and not just for when you want to have some wine but not waste your milk! I did a lot of research about pumps to find one that would be most efficient for me – I wanted something portable but electric, a double pump, and something that would express milk quickly so I wasn’t spending hours pumping.
Medela Pump In Style
My insurance covered quite a few options and I decided on the Medela Pump In Style double electric setup. I pump twice a day – once in the morning after Tanner eats and once in the evening after he goes to bed. I get about 3-6 ounces per pump session, and he usually eats about 3 per feeding. Even if you plan to be at home, having a back up milk supply is great for when you want to take a yoga class, go out on a date, or have a screaming baby who wants more milk than you are producing. Or for when you feel like a snapping turtle just went to town on your nips. All good times to have extra milk in the fridge, ya? Yeah.
Milkies Milk Saver
My boobs were SO leaky for the first three months. I would try to hold a bottle beneath my breast to catch the extra milk, but that really didn’t work well. I finally went to amazon and searched for “milk saver” and found the Milkies Milk-Saver Breast Milk Collector Storage, which was so awesome for that time when ol’ Leaky Lefttit was acting up. Some feeds I would get a whole ounce of leaked milk! I’d save it up and most days have a 2-3 ounce bottle to give Tanner in the evening, which helped SO much with his witching hour drama. The link above is an Amazon affiliate link, so if you decide to buy one through it, I’ll get like five cents. You’re awesome, thanks!
Babies like to rock. A lot. And unless you like to feel giant knots developing in your neck and upper back from rocking your baby for hours and hours and hours, unless you’re a masochist, get a swing. It’s a no brainer. We had kind of a hard time finding one that we liked for our house because it’s a kind of small one bedroom apartment, and most of them are monster big. We ended up choosing one from Target because we had a gift card. Tanner digs it. I don’t think it really matters which one you get, as long as it swings.
I have two brands that I fell in love with while diaper bag hunting: JuJuBe and Coco & Kiwi.
JuJuBe Diaper Bag
Jujube makes the BEST mess-proof bags in all sizes that have all the right pockets, are easy to wipe down, and look stylish. Yes, they are expensive. BUT if you choose a design you like, the large size makes a perfect travel carry-on regardless of how old your kids are, so invest in one and it will serve you for years to come. I have the Be Prepared bag in Duchess. I carried it on a few trips while I was pregnant, it was my hospital bag when I went into labor, and now it’s my travel diaper bag if we’re going for a day-long outing.
My daily purse is the Legacy Monarch from Jujube, and it’s rad because it’s convertible: you can do backpack style, which is a lifesaver when you have hands full with baby and stroller and car seat and boogie wipes and … you know, stuff. You can also wear it as a shoulder bag if you prefer. It’s also black, which makes me feel chic and also doesn’t show dirt.
This is another example of a company I reached out to because I was going to buy their product either way. They generously sent the above bags for review – here’s my review: highly recommend all JuJuBe products. I went back on my own and bought a makeup bag, and their stuff is my go-to choice for new mama gifts.
Coco & Kiwi
The Sydney bag in jade is more like my dress up diaper bag! It’s the one I carry if I’m going to a party, business meeting, or any occasion where I need to look like maybe I’m not carrying a diaper bag, but a really cute purse. I love the inside almost as much as the outside. What is it about a cute liner in bags that just makes the heart so happy?
So I have tried a few different covers and the two I use daily are from Milk Snob and Kids N Such (Amazon).
The milk snob ones are great because I just keep one in the car and one in the stroller and they double as a car seat carrier when it’s too sunny and they work as a nursing cover too. To be honest, I prefer these as a car seat carrier over a nursing cover – mainly because Tanner doesn’t like the fabric clinging to him when he eats. For that reason, the one I carry in my bag everywhere is the Kids N Such one – which is really reasonably priced at $20 instead of $36 for Milk Snob.
Kids N Such Roses
I like this one because it has a structured neck so the cloth drapes over baby without touching them, and it also has heavier terry cloth along the bottom of the cover so it doesn’t blow up in the wind.
By all means, if you’re comfortable whipping the tit out without a cover, my hats off to you (but not my bra because I’m more shy and I want my boobies covered in public. Not out of shame, just out of desire to not cause car accidents when I #freethenipple.)
Even if you are the most champion breastfeeding mama in the world, there will come a time when you need to be away from your baby. There may also come a time (every freaking night) when you’re worn out from nursing all day, maybe your milk supply is a bit lower, and you’ll be stoked beyond belief if you can give your fussy baby a bottle and take a few hours off the milk train. I like to give Tanner a bottle around 6, which seems to help him sleep better and also gives me wee nips a break (please go back and read wee nips in an Irish accent if you didn’t already. Thanks).
Dr. Browns Natural Flow
Anyway, most of the bottles we got had way too fast of a flow for Tanner, and still do at 4 months old. The best ones we found are Dr. Browns natural flow bottles – and we actually didn’t buy these but were given a whole set of hand-me-downs! Win!
Let me just say this: If you’re one of those adorable moms who dresses their kid in super fashionable outfits when they are two months old, good for you. I really mean that – you are a fashion maven and your kid is super well dressed. Cheers. I, however, do not want to dress my baby in anything other than footie pajamas until he
graduates high school is old enough to point at clothes and have a preference.
Footie pajamas are the bee’s knees, cat’s meow, and also mom’s best friend. They are easy to get off and on when you are totally asleep and zombie-mombie-ing your way to change your kid in the middle of the knight. They keep your kids feet warm. They are only one tiny article of clothing instead of FOUR (pants, shirt, two socks). They rule. You have a choice: snaps or zippers. I’m a zipper kind of gal, but if you like snaps, well, snaps to you then.
A lot of the footie pajamas don’t seem that comfy, and also our kid has big feet, so a lot of them fit in the body but don’t fit his feet at all. The best brands we’ve found: Nordstrom & Primary.
Nordstrom Footie Pajamas
The Nordies ones are like $22 (which yes it’s super expensive for baby jammies but WTF, you’re not dressing him in any regular clothes, remember? ALL JAMMIES ALL THE TIME.)
Primary Footie Pajamas
Primary ones are $18 or 3 for $48, which works out to $16 each, plus they have 20% off for new customers, so you can just change your email every time you order to save 20%. I didn’t do that though… I’m just saying… you could. (I confess, I totally did it. I can’t lie to you.)
Ok, stroller. We have 2 strollers, which may seem excessive, but we keep one in the back of the car, and the other in the garage. The car stroller/city stroller is a Britax from the 2016 Britax travel system. It’s cool, no complaints, it works for what it is.
The stroller I am in love with is my BOB Revolution Flex. Yes, I am in love with my stroller (and this is in no way endorsed or sponsored, I paid full price for that bish). Why? Because my stroller has amazing suspension, it encourages me to walk and is the official stroller of Stroller Strides (which I LOVE), and most of all, this stroller is the magic bullet to getting my baby to sleep. Trust me, if your stroller does that, you will be in love with it too.
I didn’t try a bunch of other strollers, but I knew I wanted a jogging stroller that works for both street and dirt paths. I like that the front wheel can be fixed or not, so if you’re running (flat surface straight line) you can lock the wheel. I leave it unlocked for maneuverability.
Look, mamahood is hard: exercise is your friend. It will help you stay sane. Get a jogging stroller. Go outside. Move your body. End of story.